Eye of the Beholder | TeenInk

Eye of the Beholder

July 20, 2011

What is it about beauty that makes everyone crave it so much? What is it that makes people starve themselves, purge their meals, and morph their bodies through surgery? Beauty can’t be that important. It can’t mean so much that people would risk everything for it. But somehow it is. Somehow beauty is everything.

If we look at a magazine we’re bombarded by, dare I say, negative size models with perfect skin and perfect hair and perfect everything. If we watch a movie everybody is gorgeous from head to toe – even if the character isn’t meant to be. Even if we listen to music, which is entirely based upon hearing and not seeing, the celebrities you look up to are beautiful. They have to be. They all have to be. But why?

It’s one thing to endorse your products with beauty, but it’s another to focus so much on physical appearance that it impacts the buyer in a negative way, telling everyone that they aren’t good enough unless you’re a size zero or your hair is perfect and your skin is flawless. You have to be gorgeous to be anything. You’re nothing without beauty.

Why is it that thin, pretty girls don’t feel good enough? They look around and feel disgusting, like they need to be something more than what they are just to fit in, just to mean something to somebody. Why is it that they starve themselves, depriving their body of essentials just to reach an unrealistic goal of perfection? Why is it that they binge and then purge just so maybe one day they’ll be something worthwhile, like they’re not already? Why is it that they go into a clinic and ask for this or that because somehow if you go up a cup size or down a pant size you’re more of a person than you were before?

But most importantly: why do we feel like this isn’t a big deal?

Why do we feel that telling people that they’re not good enough is okay and that it isn’t society’s fault, but their own? Someone once said it isn’t you that’s screwed up, it’s society, and they couldn’t be more correct. Society tells us we need to be this or look like that and when we finally achieve our goal of perfection we will be adored. The end doesn’t justify the means if you have to harm yourself or someone else in the process. How is it that we can tell people “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” and not expect them to be persuaded and then say it isn’t society’s fault?
How can we say that it doesn’t matter who you are if you don’t fit into society’s definition of beauty? How can we put people out there who condone beauty as the only way of achieving importance and then say that we’re not the ones doing the disservice? It’s unreasonable. It’s unrealistic. It’s destructive. But above all, it’s not fair.

I can honestly say I’ve never once looked in the mirror and thought that I was pretty, that I was worthwhile. My teeth aren’t perfect. My hair is unruly. My skin is spotty. I’m not skinny. I’m ugly. When you grow up in a world that ostracizes you for any amount of physical flaws, you start to believe they’re right. Maybe you are worthless. Maybe you are ugly.
But you’re not. And no one has the right to make that judgment of you or of anyone else.

You think changing yourself for others will somehow change you, make you different. But it doesn’t. No amount of physical revamping will change who you are on the inside.

Maybe I am fat, yet I somehow doubt if I were thin I would look in the mirror and be happy. Sure I’d be skinny, but there would still be a million other things that I find wrong with myself. Because once you’ve been told something for so long, you begin to agree with what is being said.

So you can change the way you look, but there’s no such thing as perfection. There’s no such thing as self-confidence once you’ve changed yourself. Because you may have changed one thing, but you’re trained to find something else. And something else. And something else until there’s nothing left of you but what the world tells you to be. And that’s the farthest thing from perfect.

The author's comments:
I saw an article about Adele one day talking about how she appeared in Vogue -- entirely Photoshopped, like she wasn't good enough to be in it as just her. It went on to talk about how it's nearly impossible to find any full body shots of Adele because she's not the standard celebrity icon, ergo, "skinny". The entire article just struck a nerve with me and I decided to write this.

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